Hell and Fateful Decisions
Modern minatures rules.
Hell and Fateful Decisions simulates modern gaming at the popular 1:300 model, 1:1800 terrain scales. This can throw up some odd situations, buildings are too small for the models, representing not a single structure but the presence of several buildings in the area. Models take up far too much space, it is quite acceptable to stack them 2 or 3 high at key terrain points. Columns of vehicles take up too much road space, unless they are placed several wide across roads.
Having put up with this to avoid a tennis court playing area, the rules are found to be clever but incomplete. Modern wargaming has to be fast to simulate the pace of action but have enough detail to reflect the technology involved. Hell and Fateful Decisions sacrifices detail for speed. Sets of modern rules are usually deep in specifications for weapons hitting and armour penetration. Hell and Fateful Decisions offers no such tables, the few guide-lines are not enough to simulate any 1 period. 3 scenarios are included, complete with forces involved but without details on the weapons and vehicles needed. If the writer has played these scenarios then he must have the data, so why not pass it on.?
The gamer is faced with inventing (some call it researching) statistics for any unit more technical than a rifle team. Part of the attraction of modern gaming is finding out how effective weapon A is against target B. This cannot be done here, having cribbed enough data to make up combat tables the gamer will know all there is to know in the world of his own games. Accurate or not, some sort of starting data is needed to handle the action. I cribbed the tables in Command Decision, which err on the side of caution. I wrote off to the author (Jim Webster) asking for confirmation but no reply, perhaps the publishers steamed off the stamp and threw the letter away.Hell and Fateful Decisions sells at ú4 for a pretty slim booklet. Even a small print run would cost under a ú1, the author probably takes ú1 and the capitalist publishers ú2. The beginning gamer will have to buy another set of rules to crib enough hard data to make the game work. Considering this, I would class the booklet as a design forum rather than a complete set of rules. Whosoever works out the weapons charts will have an unrealistic view of how combat works so is best relegated to an umpire role. Players not knowing the mechanisms could enjoy role-play type games or 2 people could play with 1 controlling the game and the other the most active side. Even so, 2 or 3 games wi
the same forces gives a lot of information to the players, who will probably want more than the system can provide.
The basic system is clever in a DBA sort of way and works best for infantry groups with some artillery or mortar support. The player rolls a D8, adding to the roll depending on how many radios he has. 1 point can be spent to move a unit (6 to 10 models) or fire an off-table battery. Naturally if significantly more units than 8 are in use, a larger die would be necessary. If a unit is not under fire, it may move up to 3 times but if it has been pinned by fire it will need 2 points to move at all. Firing is also pretty dandy, infantry units tend to pop off at each other, artillery has to range in but keeps pounding as long as you can afford the points. In both cases the attacker rolls a die based on where the target is, who has more rifles (for infantry) or how big are the guns (for artillery). The defender rolls a die based on his training. In practice the attacker might end up rolling a D6 against normal troops who defend with a D8. Dice used go up to a D30 so you will need to dig out the D&D set. Only 1 die is rolled for each combat, the number of troops involved is factored in. Pins are a common result, attackers can be pinned by their own fire. Pinning affects the ability of a unit to move but not to fire (1 of the points that I changed). A big final difference will give a chance of the removal of 1 or more stands. Units can lose a percentage of stands based on their training and then bug out. Points from the initial D8 roll can be used to bring them back but they tend to remain pretty fragile. All the above works rather well, alas any combat after about 1940 will see quite a lot of vehicles, if only to get the boys into action. Simple APCs are basically wheeled machine guns so act as souped up infantry units but tanks and MICVs are something else. This is the point at which my belief in the rules began to break down and my need to write new sections increased. Anything with a big gun is basically artillery on wheels and can fire like the real thing. Guns are also allowed to target individual stands and try to toast them, while not affecting the rest of the target unit. This is usually better than pounding the countryside because a chain gun does not have the punch of say a 155 mm shell.
Naturally the urge soon rises to have AFVs shot at each other. The new ideas run out at this point, leaving a system of rolling to hit on D100 and destroying anything that can be penetrated on a 1 with a D6. It is up to the player to find out what can penetrate what. The to hit tables are pretty slim and give little chance of hitting a moving target at over 1000m (the M1A1 had no problem with this in Kuwait). I found that these tables need significant expansion to cover the game's eventualities. Man- held missile weapons are inaccurate under this system, the only good way to kill a tank in Hell and Fateful Decisions is another tank.
If this were a board game it would count as an air box. The information provided is pretty slim, perhaps a data volume is on the cards. If so it ought to be available at the same time as the rules, naturally if the rules bomb there is no chance of an expansion. ZOCo recommendation, rip off the basics for your own ideas or play with the Hell and Fateful Decisions infantry and artillery systems but use the charts from Command Decision for vehicle warfare.